The Bichon Frise, commonly known as the Bichon, is a very popular pooch loved for his gentle spirit, cheerful disposition, and affectionate and sensitive yet playful nature. He is a great family dog in that he loves all people he encounters. However, he can be a needy pup in a few ways. The Bichon Frises can struggle with separation anxiety as well as fear aggression, tends to bark a lot, be difficult to housebreak, needs to be bathed often, and can have staining on his coat from excessive tearing. If you have a Bichon, you undoubtedly love him but have found that he can be a lot of work. Taking the time to keep him feeling secure and clean can go a long way in decreasing his neediness and increasing your happiness.
The Root of the Behavior
His desire to protect comes partly from his undying devotion to you and as compensation for his petite size. The Bichon can live up to 15 years, which also means they mature a little bit more slowly than other breeds. This lack of maturity, combined with a bit of an independent and stubborn streak, can make it difficult to housebreak the pup in a timely manner. His breed is notorious for being difficult to house train, so it may take longer cleaning up his accidents than with other breeds. He also has a beautiful white coat that needs to be maintained on a daily basis with brushing and baths as well as weekly grooming. Without the brushing, his coat will become matted and tangled and more easily stained. His soft coat, since it is white and he is a dog, can become dirty quickly. Being dirty is unsightly, unsanitary, and can lead to skin rashes and infections. The Bichon also tends to have eyes that tear often, which can lead to staining if not properly cleaned and cared for in a timely manner.
Encouraging the Behavior
Prior to getting your Bichon, do your research on the proper care of his coat and face. There are many products on the market that can help you with the right brush and shampoo to keep his coat and skin clean and moisturized. Brush him right from the start every other two to three days to limit matting, tangles, and the accumulation of dirt. Bathe him on a bi-weekly to monthly basis but monitor his skin to ensure he is not developing any sensitivity to the baths or bath products. Also, have him groomed by a professional groomer every 4-6 weeks, and keep his coat short and clipped. Having him look like a show dog takes more time and money, so while the short and clipped coat will not have him show ready, he will still be adorable and a bit less maintenance. Housebreaking is essential when owning a pet, and Bichons are known for having accidents. Many trainers recommend crate training your Bichon as well as installing a doggy door so that he has limited chances of having accidents in the home. While training, be prepared to take him out more than once during the night. Having a dog walker to take him out during the day if you are not home is almost a must as well. Be patient and reward him with treats and praise as often as possible. Understand it may take him a little longer than other breeds to master housebreaking and holding his bladder. All dogs' eyes tear, but the Bichon tends to be on the higher end of tearing. Some tearing is caused by allergies and can be handled with medication. You can limit the staining by wiping his eyes often and keeping him clean in general.